An Auckland supermarket says people have started to buy antiseptic sprays and liquids by the box as the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus outbreak.

Countdown Meadowlands, in the suburb of Howick, is having to bring in extra stock for hand sanitisers, antiseptic liquids and antibacterial sprays - particularly Dettol - as people are now buying them in bulk on a daily basis.

Duty manager Kumar Than told the Weekend Herald its warehouse was sending extra stock for those items regularly now - something they had not seen before.

"All the shelves are getting empty very quickly.


"Those items like the hand sanitisers, Dettol, are selling very good certainly after the coronavirus warning.

"We have online orders. Our staff doing online shopping, they're also seeing so many orders - especially sanitary items [like] Dettol and that kind of thing."

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It comes after shoppers overseas were amazed when they spotted "human coronavirus" on the back of Dettol sprays among the list of germs it could kill.

It was later reported it was a different strain of coronavirus and not the novel coronavirus that has so far killed 213 people overseas, as of 11am.

Than could not say how many Dettol sprays had sold in the past week or so, but he had seen people pushing out trolleys with boxes of the items.

An Auckland resident who contacted the newspaper said he approached a group of people who had purchased bulk Dettol products from the supermarket this week.

This photo has been doing the rounds on Facebook of Dettol's medicinal properties.
This photo has been doing the rounds on Facebook of Dettol's medicinal properties.

"I [asked] this group of people buying all the hand sanitiser and cleaning products for one bottle of the hand sanitiser - they said no.

People wearing face masks in a subway station in Hong Kong this week. Photo / AP
People wearing face masks in a subway station in Hong Kong this week. Photo / AP

"I went to a few other supermarkets around East Auckland these few days - they've all sold out, too."

The resident said he believed people were buying the products to send back to family members affected in China or to re-sell.

"I can understand they need to send the supplied back to their family, but supermarkets can set up a limit on it."

The resident photographed the group loading boxes of Dettol products into their van.

Meanwhile, an online auction site has reported a huge jump in people searching for hand sanitisers and face masks in light of the coronavirus outbreak overseas.

Head of TradeMe's Marketplace, Lisa Stewart, said, as of yesterday, there had been 22,000 searches for the term "face mask" in the past seven days.


That was an increase of 816 per cent on results the same time last year.

"On Tuesday alone we saw 9000 searches for 'face mask'. Searches for hand sanitiser were also up nearly 900 per cent on the same time last year and we're seeing hundreds of hits every day," she said.

"We expect to see a lot more searches for these items over the coming weeks if the coronavirus continues to spread."